Roses are beautiful and fragrant. Writer Emma Goldman said, "I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck." Fresh roses can easily be dried into petals. With the petals you can have roses on your table, shelf or counter every day of the year. Here are rose petal drying tips ranging from instant gratification microwave desiccation to the long-term rose aficionado slow natural dehydration. In other words, you can dry rose petals as quickly or slowly as you wish.
Select roses in full bloom. Petals pull more easily from the rose when the flower has fully opened. If you have a variety of roses, do all the roses of one variety at the same time so they will dry at about the same rate. You may prefer to dry different colours like red and yellow separately so that you can store petal batches of similar colour. This is especially handy for arts and crafts using rose petals.
Pull petals by hand. Put a paper towel on a table or counter to hold the rose petals. Use one hand to hold the rose stem near the bloom. Use the other hand to gently grasp several petals and pull them from the rose. Drop them on the paper towel. This blots excess dew or water and lets you pluck out any insects.
Microwave rose petals in minutes. Scatter the rose petals on a microwave safe plate. Microwave for one minute. If the petals are still damp, microwave at one-minute intervals until dry. Let cool.
If you have space or like the fragrance of petals as they dry, spread the petals on tissue paper or on wire screen. Put them where they will get plenty of ventilation but not be disturbed by breezes. An enclosed patio or spare room is a nice place to dry these rose petals. Stir them occasionally to dry evenly.
If you have a few weeks to dry the rose petals, use twine to tie the roses together at the stems. Hang them upside down on a clothes hanger or wire in a dark ventilated dry place so they do not mildew. This method may take a few weeks to one month for the roses to become dry and brittle. Gently pluck off the petals for your project or use the flowers intact.
Consider drying agents. Commercial flower drying agents can be found at florist shops and garden centres. The product, usually silica gel, is in a container in which you place the flowers. The silica gel draws the moisture out of the flowers in about a week.
Try pressing. If you have one or two special roses from a gift bouquet, you can press the petals. Pluck them out and put them between paper towels. Put a book or board on them to press the petals as they dry.
Rose petals are high in moisture. They shrink as they dry and will be a fraction of their original size. Dry rose petals lend themselves to many home arts and crafts like candle making, potpourri and card decorating.